This post continues our series looking at last year's most memorable plays. Today, we're looking at what was undoubtedly one of the most exciting plays I've experienced in Williams-Brice Stadium: Ace Sanders's punt returned for a touchdown against UGA. Here's the play:
This play would be higher on the list if it wasn't for the fact that the game was getting close to being over by this point. The key to this game, IMO, was that Steve Spurrier and his staff had a good game plan on the opening drives to attack Georgia through the air. After we scored on the opening two drives, we began to take "Gurshall" out of the game and put Georgia's offense in comeback mode, and passing most downs is a terrible place to be against Carolina's defense. This particular play was important because it put us up 21 and thus made it all the more clear that UGA was going to have pass its way out of the hole, but we were already well on the way to being there before the play.
What was really special about this play was how it stylishly it announced that this game--perhaps the biggest we've ever taken part in--was going to be a blowout. The play was a huge crowd pleaser. Frankly, I don't think I've ever heard it louder in the stadium than after this play. It was chief among those moments that make being at this game such a memorable experience for myself and many other Carolina fans.
Sanders's moves on the return weren't his best work on the season, as impressive as they were. They key to the play was likely that Sanders bobbled the ball initially, and that he picked it up instead of falling on it. As you see, Georgia actually has a player in position to make the tackle at the point of the catch, but when Sanders drops the ball, the defender dives for the fumble recovery. Of course, the UGA player did exactly what he was supposed to do, so it's hard to blame him. For his part, Sanders was likely taught to fall on the ball in that situation, but sometimes great plays take a little daring, I suppose. After Sanders picks it up, he navigates his way through traffic with a couple of great jukes, and he then has open space for most of the run.